Get to know your College:  Jean Pepperill, 4th year Medicine student, Alice Springs

What led you to Medicine? Seeing family and close family friends’ experiences in the health system.  I was always curious about their medical conditions and why they were sick and why some passed way. I guess I wanted to better understand and be able to change the experience of Aboriginal people in the health system.

Why did you choose Flinders? I saw the advertisement! You know, I was born in Alice Springs, I love living in the Territory, a lot of my family and friends are here and I know that I want to spend a good portion of my life here. So the ad really resonated with me!

What’s a highlight of your student life at Flinders? Definitely the friendships I have formed with my classmates. The Northern Territory Medical Program is small so your colleagues become more like family.

Also, I’ve had lots of opportunities to attend conferences throughout Australia and overseas – it’s given  me the chance to make great professional connections and given me an insight into the type of doctor I want to be and where my career can take me.

What is a highlight of your placement? I have loved that I can be completely immersed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. It’s great to see Aboriginal patients feel at ease when they know you’re Aboriginal.

How do you see this program preparing you for your future career? In Alice Springs I’ve been able to start building long-lasting relationships with patients.

The focus of Aboriginal health means I am building foundations to improve the lives of my community and I’m already building long lasting professional relationships with people I will be working with in the very near future.

What do you see as the ideal future for rural and remote health? That rural and remote health won’t be seen as a subset of medicine. It will be completely integrated into the medical curriculum and medical training programs.

As it becomes integrated, more people will see it as a great opportunity, experience and hopefully as their career. It also won’t be the only topic that covers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

Tell me something about yourself that others may not know? I’m an avid stargazer and photographer – both helpful hobbies to have in Alice!

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